I am inordinately right-handed. And do you know the worst part about being extraordinarily right-handed? When some injury befalls that side of your body (say, a vague tearing sensation in the muscles somewhere between your clavicle and shoulder-blade) you become unable to do just about anything productive. For the last two days, I have been slathered in aspercreme and dosed with Aleve, taking shallow breaths lest the shooting pain that runs from the top of my shoulder down through my ribs get any more annoyed at me than it already is, and have been unable to do anything that involved moving my right arm more than two or three inches in any direction, which means activities such as manual labor, drinking, playing guitar, reading, and cooking have all been put on hold. Needless to say, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting. I am half-way done with a gorgeous pair of Grace Note socks, made from lightweight STR in the Haida colorway, that I may frame and put up on the wall, I love them so much. I finished the first skein on my stupid impulse lap rug. And yesterday, while watching the Panthers and the Dolphins fail to show up to their season openers, I made myself a felted cloche.
While the first part of that statement ought to be surprising enough (I voluntarily watched football! I think I must be growing as a person), the second part is actually far more surprising, as I am, in fact, allergic to wool. But I used Patons Classic, which is only marginally itchy, and I plan on lining it (just a good plan, anyway, when you get hat-hair like I do), so I shouldn’t have too much of a problem that way.
I used Cirilia Rose’s Stirling Cloche pattern, which expressly tells you not to use 100% wool, but as I play at being a knitting anarchist, I went ahead and used wool anyway. Which would have been fine, had I not had a slight miscommunication with the resident felter of the house – my mom. Of course, as the pattern is not intended for heavy felting, it creates a hat only slightly bigger than the finished product ought to be. When Mom commented on how small the hat seemed on the needles, I explained that it was intended to be lightly felted, like thrown-in-the-sink-and-done-by-hand felted, and she said oh, okay, that’s fine, then. So far, so good. But when the time came for me to put it in the sink and hand-felt it, my mother insisted that would take forever, and I should just toss it in the washer for 15 minutes. When I protested that 15 minutes seemed like an awfully long time, she compromised with 10, and we went from there. After 10 minutes, it was likely the perfect size, but as there were still row lines visible, my mom tossed it back in the wash for another 10 minutes.
What came out of the washer was roughly the size of your average cereal bowl, and shaped similarly. The brim that I had so carefully constructed was nowhere to be seen. After five or ten minutes of strenuous tugging, I had something that more closely resembles a toboggan with a floppy brim than a cloche, but I’m not completely unhappy with it. I think once I attach a ribbon to it, it will be quite fetching, and it certainly serves the purpose I made it for, which was to make a classy hat to cover my ears for winter.
However, the kicker to the whole story is that afterward, when we went back upstairs, my mom snagged Cirilia’s pattern and looked it over. At which time she announces, “It says not to use 100% wool! If I had known that, I wouldn’t have told you to felt it for so long.” When I offered that I had told her it was supposed to be lightly felted, she responded with “There’s a difference between lightly felted and barely felted at all. This wanted barely felted at all.” Thus, ladies and gentlemen, are the pitfalls of the English language and attempting to use it for communication.
What I'm listening to: "How Do I Fix My Head" by Straylight Run